Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive. Click on the question below or on the left-hand sidebar for slightly expanded answers, and if you don't find the question(s) you have listed here, please contact us or use the form at the bottom of this page.
What size urn should I get?
The amount of ashes, or "cremains", that each urn holds is measured in cubic inches. The industry standard used to figure before-and-after size is approximately 1 pound of healthy weight to 1 cubic inch of cremains; that is, a 180lb person will require roughly 180 cubic inches. More info...
What urn sizes are available?
Most adult cremation urns are made to hold a standard amount of 200 cubic inches of cremated ashes. Companion urns are larger, usually 400 cubic inches, and are designed for the remains of two people. Keepsake urns are smaller, intended for use when the remains are divided for burial or sharing among family members. Other types of urns include pet urns, child urns, and various specialty urns that will vary in size.
What are cubic inches?
A cubic inch is a standard unit of measurement used to measure volume. A cubic inch is the volume of a symmetrical cube with each side measuring 1 inch in length. Urn capacity is measured in cubic inches, and a simple way to figure the size urn you need is to take the individuals weight and convert it at a 1:1 ratio to cubic inches. So an individual weighing 150 pounds will need an urn with a capacity of about 150 cubic inches. More info...
Do I need to buy an urn from a funeral home or crematorium?
No. You can purchase an urn from anywhere and bring it to the funeral home or crematorium. According to the FTC's Funeral Rule, "the funeral provider may not refuse, or charge a fee, to handle a casket [or urn] you bought elsewhere." More info...
How will the ashes come from the crematorium or funeral home?
Each crematorium has their own unique way of handling the remains, but generally you can expect to receive the ashes in a clear, durable plastic bag (usually sealed with a twist tie), inside of a simple "temporary urn" (a plastic or cardboard box). If you purchased an urn from the funeral home, they will most likely inurn the ashes prior to giving them to you.
How do I put the remains into the urn?
To place the remains in the cremation urn you ordered online, simply open the cardboard or plastic temporary urn and remove the plastic bag containing the cremated remains. Then place the sealed plastic bag into the permanent urn and reattach the urn's lid or bottom opening panel. You may use wood glue or caulking as a sealant, but this is not required as long as the ashes remain in the plastic bag. More info & videos...
What if I'm not comfortable handling the remains?
If you are uncomfortable with handling the remains, many funeral homes will transfer the remains into your cremation urn for you. If you did not use a funeral home, a family member or friend may be willing to inurn the ashes for you.
If you don't want to open the 'temporary urn', we offer several cremation urns which will hold some of the common sizes of temporary urns, so that you can simply insert the entire cardboard or plastic urn into the permanent urn. The most popular is the Marquis Urn.
What can be done with cremated remains?
The options are nearly limitless. The cremated remains can be buried in a cemetery plot, buried or scattered on private property, scattered in the ocean, scattered elsewhere with permission from the property owner/manager, kept at home in an urn, or shared among relatives in smaller keepsake urns.
Popular alternatives range from the eco-friendly (planted as a tree) to the artistic (mixed into a painting) to the celebratory (shot in fireworks), to the completely niche (embedded in a vinyl record). Here are 27 things that can be done with cremated remains, and more options are being created all the time.
What are my options for scattering ashes?
You can scatter ashes on your own property, on private property with permission from the owner, on public property with clearance from the appropriate officials, at sea, in a river, in a lake, from a cliff, or from air via a helicopter.
You can use the container the ashes come in, purchase a decorative tube that is easy for pouring, use a hinged-lid keepsake box, or any other urn that you can open. If you are the DIY type, here are 16 ideas for scattering cremated remains.
You can pour the remains onto the ground or into the water, rake them into the ground in a rather soothing ritual, or bury them in biodegradable urn for a touch-free natural 'scattering' that will return your loved one to the earth.
Can I get an inscription engraved on my urn?
Yes. With a few rare exceptions, nearly all of our urns can be laser-engraved with a custom inscription, usually a name, dates, and a brief epitaph or quote. Most options are listed on the product page. If not, simply add the urn to your cart, then go to Shop > Cremation Urns > Urn Customization, or simply click here. If you are unsure or have questions about engraving or other personalization, please let us know.
Will engraving the urn add to the delivery time?
Yes and no. The actual time it takes to set up and engrave an inscription ranges from between a few minutes to several hours, which will often have little effect on the shipment date; however, there is a wide range of factors converging every day in our busy production shops that may affect the day that your urn is made, engraved, and/or shipped. If you are concerned about a custom engraved urn arriving by a specific date, please call us and we will make arrangements to best suit your need.
Can I get the urn delivered by a particular date?
Often, yes. Contact us to arrange, and read this article to learn about your options and the factors involved.
How do I attach an applique to a cremation urn?
If you urn comes with an applique, such as a military service emblem, it is designed to be attached to wood and metal urns by a 3M industrial-grade double-stick tape. Make sure that the surface area is clean, dry, and free of dust, then simply remove the layer of plastic from the back of the applique and affix it directly to the place on the urn you would like it to go. Once you place it, it will not be removable so be careful!
How do I seal the lid on a ceramic urn?
You can choose to not seal your urn if the ashes are placed inside using a sealed plastic bag; however, should you choose to seal the lid, it can easily be sealed with a good quality silicone sealant which can be found at any home depot or hardware store.
To seal the lid onto the ceramic urn, apply a bead of sealant around the inside of the lid, and then securely fasten the lid on to the body of the urn. If you someday decide to remove the sealed lid, it is possible if done carefully by a fairly strong person. Simply twist the lid back and forth until it releases.
Should I seal my cremation urn?
In most cases you will receive the cremains from the funeral home inside a plastic bag which will be inside a plastic or cardboard temporary urn, so usually the best method (and what we generally recommend) for placing the ashes into an urn is to simply leave the cremains in the plastic bag and set the bag in the urn. Using this option, most of our cremation urns will not require a sealant, but you may apply a small bead of wood glue, caulk, or other adhesive around the edges of the urn opening if you so choose.
With most wooden urns, the entire bottom panel is removable, allowing you to easily place the ashes into the urn. With many of our marble or stone urns, the interior of the urn is accessed by a threaded stopper and thus pouring the remains is the recommended method. Ceramic urns are often accessed by removing the lid and, depending on the size of the opening, the ashes can either be placed into the urn inside the plastic bag or should be poured in.
Should you choose an urn with a small opening or simply decide to pour the ashes into the cremation urn, sealing is recommended to prevent leakage. You may also want to apply a sealant upon closure of the urn to ensure permanence, regardless of whether the plastic bag is used or not.
How do I open a wood urn?
Most of our wood cremation urns open from the bottom by removing four screws. Simple remove the screws, place the plastic bag of remains into the urn, then reattach the bottom panel using the screws. Video Example & More...
Is it disrespectful to re-open an urn?
There are many legitimate and respectful reasons to open an urn. These include opening the temporary urn to transfer the ashes into a permanent urn, opening to scatter ashes, dividing the remains among family members, or placing a small amount of ashes into a keepsake such as a cremation necklace. Read more here...
What is a scattering urn?
A scattering urn is a type of urn designed for two things: first, it will securely hold the remains until you are ready to scatter; and second, it opens in a way that makes it easy to pour out the ashes when the time is right. Learn more here...
What is a keepsake urn?
A keepsake urn is a small urn which holds a tiny portion of cremains, usually between 1-35 cubic inches depending on the design of the keepsake (standard adult urn size holds 200 cubic inches). Videos & More...
What is a companion urn?
A companion urn is a cremation urn for two individuals. The industry standard size for a companion urn is 400 cubic inches. Our comprehensive resource, Companion Urns: The Complete Guide, will answer every question you may have concerning companion urns.
Should a companion urn have a divider?
The answer to this depends on the design of the urn and your preference. Some urns, such as most marble companion urns, are designed with two separate compartments for the remains. Others, like most wood companion urns, have a removable panel that can separate the interior. Ceramic urns usually do not have a divider, due to the shape.
The remains will come to you in a plastic bag, and we generally recommend simply placing the bag into the urn. For companion urns, this means that you can choose to either place both bags into the urn, or co-mingle the remains in a single plastic bag, thus rendered the question of a divider unnecessary.
Which cremation urns are suitable for airline travel?
Most wood, plastic, or non-lead lined ceramic urns can pass through the TSA's security screenings. Generally, most airlines will allow you to bring a cremation urn as a carry-on provided it passes through the security screenings. Out of respect for the deceased and family, airport security personnel will never open the cremation container. This is why it is important to choose an urn which will pass through the x-ray screening. More...
How long can I keep a biodegradable urn?
Most biodegradable urns are made out of hearty materials, including bamboo wood, ceramics, grolleg paper, cardboard, salt, cornstarch, and more. As long as you keep the biodegradable urn away from moisture they will last for years.
The heartier ones, such as bamboo and our ceramic-based memorial tree urns, are very durable and will take years to biodegrade in the ground. With these, you won't need to worry too much about moisture while storing the urn prior to use. Others, such as the Himalayan Rock Salt Urn, will biodegrade within four hours when placed into the water. These types will still last for years provided they are stored securely and away from water.
How much do urns typically cost?
Our bestselling standard adult urns average about $284 (source). While you can find cheap imported urns at bulk retailers like Walmart and Amazon for about $79-159, most high-quality American-made standard adult-sized urns cost around $300-400. More...